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  • Writer's pictureleahsommer

Media Monday -- Walgreen's "Battle Beautifully" -- Heroes or Hollow?

If you're like me, you may be noticing an increase in female-focused messaging recently. March is, after all, Women's History Month. I've generally been enjoying these messages, I think some advertisers are doing a great job of speaking to and about women in somewhat unexpected ways.

One in particular that I found to be a bit disruptive in the sea of empowered femininity, was "Battle Beautifully" from Walgreens, which promotes its new internal partnership to help women battling cancer find the beauty products and methods to suit their unique needs.

My initial reaction was that this was perhaps a very 'real' way to talk about these issues (though my perspective is from someone who is not, or has not, battled cancer). Many health-related organizations approach cancer very delicately, whereas this spot seems to look it square in the eyes. It's more anthem than apology.

It does appear that current/former cancer patients were used in the spot, as indicated by this Facebook post of one of the actors featured in the spot.

Of course, not everyone felt the love, with one customer proclaiming the spot was "offensive, triggering, and insulting," adding, "It’s minimizing and demeaning one of the hardest things anyone can go through in their life, implying I should somehow have the energy to do yoga and wear makeup when I’m on the edge of death."

So what's a brand to do? Knowing there will always be detractors, and those you've 'triggered and offended', do you play it safe for maximum approval? Or is there room to take a stand on a point of view that not everyone is going to agree with? I believe the latter, even in today's callout culture, can be extraordinarily powerful for a brand.

We're all trying to find our tribes, no? And while there are absolutely women dealing with cancer for whom it takes all of their available energy just to get out of bed, there is also a subset who want to, or need, to continue with as many of their wellness and beauty regimens as possible to preserve some normalcy and sense of self.

I understand my point of view lacks important perspective, so help me out...

What do you think of this ad? Real talk or real tone deaf?

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